By Michele Tusi – East Coast
On January 3rd, 2021, Chris Pejko died in a tragic motorcycle accident. And just like that, the community lost a fellow biker, a nurse, an avid snowboarder … a person who would move heaven and earth to help a friend, ease a heartache, or give you a doom and gloom prognosis if you had a cough. Funny? Yeah, Chris was a funny dude with a quirky sense of humor and a laugh that was genuine.
Chris was a rock star. Literally. He kicked cancer’s ass TWICE, cruised all over the country on his Harley, slashed through fresh powder on more mountains than most can even name, and cared for the sickest of the sick as an ICU nurse working on the front lines against the pandemic and throughout his career. When people say, “live your life to the fullest”, Chris embodied that expression. Chris designed his life in a way that needed to be experienced in order to be fully lived. Experience it, he did, and he would have happily taken any of us with him on those adventures.
He loved his concerts – big and small, his Harley – I mean how many photos of his bike did we see on Facebook??, snowboarding – great adventures with ‘Team Retard’, his profession – a lifelong passion for helping others, his friends – and you know who you are and of course, his family – God Bless.
If you had the privilege to ride with Chris, you know he was an experienced rider, whose joy came from the RIDE – no matter where or with whom – he loved to ride! He could find a unique route to get just about anywhere, you never knew where you were going, but the roads were always smooth, and the scenery breathtaking. The girls would joke that Chris was the best ‘bike valet’ for he was quick to help you get parked, get moved, or get caught up! NO ONE LEFT BEHIND when you rode with Chris.
Chris was a solid human, a great friend, and more importantly, possessed empathy beyond his years. He would do whatever he could for anyone. He would offer to pay for things when he knew that others could not afford them, even if he himself was strapped for cash. He just made it happen.
Each one of us has a footprint beyond the Biker Community. I would be remiss if I did not mention Chris’ professional impact as an ICU Nurse. His peers and colleagues looked up to him, as evident by the many Facebook posts on his timeline and retelling of work time stories and antidotes. His ability to stay calm in emergencies, advocate for his patients, and provide on the spot training and support for his fellow nurses makes this loss even more heartbreaking.
What can I say?
‘You know that only the good die young
I tell ya
Only the good die young
Only the good die young’
Artist – Billy Joel